European Commission Publishes European Union Strategic Approach to Pharmaceuticals in the Environment
The European Commission (the Commission) presented on 11 March 2020 its “European Union Strategic Approach to Pharmaceuticals in the Environment” (the Strategic Approach) (see, attached Commission press release, communication and fact sheet).
The Strategic Approach seeks to combat the pollution of surface water, ground water and soil with pharmaceutical residues. It has been long in the making: the legal sources which the Commission cites as a basis for the Strategic Approach, namely the Priority Substances Directive and the pharmacovigilance rules, date back to 2008 and 2010 respectively. Similarly, the publication of the Commission’s policy roadmap and public consultations have already taken place in 2017 (see, Van Bael & Bellis Life Sciences Newsflash of 2 May 2017).
The Strategic Approach now sets out six areas for action, each of them encompassing a range of concrete measures which will be initiated (and some of them completed) in 2020:
- Increasing awareness and promote prudent use of pharmaceuticals;
- Supporting the development of pharmaceuticals that are intrinsically less harmful for the environment;
- Improving the environmental risk assessment and its review;
- Reducing wastage;
- Expanding environmental monitoring; and
- Filling the remaining knowledge gaps.
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